Video Tour: Unit 13 Takes Shooters Social on PS Vita

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Video Tour: Unit 13 Takes Shooters Social on PS Vita

There’s no sense mincing words: The next game from SOCOM creator Zipper Interactive represents a fairly radical rethinking of the competitive shooter genre. The game doesn’t include a traditional single-player story or a conventional multiplayer battleground, instead focusing squarely on bite-sized, highly replayable scenarios that can be played alone or with a friend. In dropping the well-worn ways of the past, Unit 13 is positioning itself to be on the forefront of an entirely new way to think about multiplayer. The game will track and report your virtual exploits and broadcast them to friends both far (via PSN) and near (via…Near).

To get a handle on this brazen new approach to shooter design, we asked Creative Director Seth Luisi to outline Unit 13’s feature set and functionality in a video tour. Afterwards, we looped in with SCEA Producer Ara Demirjian to get answers to our burning questions. If you have any burning questions of your own, be sure to leave them in the comments!

Unit 13 for PS Vita

PlayStation.Blog: In your mind, what’s key for a mobile shooter?
Ara Demirjian, assistant producer, SCEA:The ability to jump into a scenario, get your play time in, and feel like you accomplished something when you’re done. Unit 13 is set up to be an on-the-go game that gives you satisfaction when you play, especially when it propagates to your friends and your local area via near.

PSB: Will SOCOM fans find the mechanics and overall gameplay for Unit 13 familiar?
Demirjian: Yes. Zipper is known for contemporary third-person shooters — it’s what they’re good at! Unit 13 is built from the ground up for PS Vita and while the gameplay itself will feel familiar to SOCOM players, there are some different aspects given the PS Vita’s hardware features.

When you pick up the PS Vita, it’s kind of like using a DualShock controller with a huge screen: it feels good in your hands, the analog sticks feel smooth, and all the controls operate exactly how you’d expect. We have implemented touch controls for picking up weapons, reloading, vaulting over barriers, completing objectives, and accessing your tactical map, among others. We kept the implementation straightforward, but it allows us to do a lot of new things. We also use the rear touchscreen for swapping shoulders when you’re aiming down the sight; it can help you get a better shot on your enemy when you’re peeking around cover.

PSB: So there’s no traditional single-player campaign?
Demirjian: Unit 13 is built to be a mobile shooter: it’s designed around instant action, not a lengthy story mode. The mission grid gives you 36 unique missions, all playable independent of one another. Across all the missions, you’re trying to achieve a wide variety of objectives whether it’s taking down high-value targets or destroying weapons caches.

The scoring component is a major focus for us here. We want to make this an asynchronous socially competitive experience, so your scores will post to PSN and the near leaderboards so your friends can see if you top their score on a given mission. With a 3G PS Vita unit, this data can be updated automatically, and you can browse the status bar to see who is doing what at any time.

Unit 13 for PS VitaUnit 13 for PS Vita

PSB: What will bring players back to keep competing with one another?
Demirjian: We’re planning a number of Daily Challenges, which will bring a unique mission objective to the game every single day. We’re not planning on having any repeats for a looo-o-oong time! This is a great opportunity for a player of average skill to make their mark on the leaderboards: once that 24 hour period is up, nobody can post against your score. So if you’re aggressive, you might be able to hold a number one position on the global leaderboards and get some bragging rights with your friends.

PSB: The game features six operatives, but how different are they? Can I level them up?
Demirjian: Each operative has different statistics, play strategy, and weapon loadouts. Some are better at stealth, or run-and-gun, or assault, or infiltration. Things like ammo capacity, rate of fire, accuracy, health regeneration and many more factors are all in play, too. You have the ability to chose whichever character you want for any mission, but certain classes will naturally perform better in certain missions.

You can level up your operative through 10 levels, and the bonuses are different from class to class. If you level up as a stealth-based operative, you’ll gain additional stealth infiltration bonuses for your score, the ability to carry new weapons and explosives, and your ammo capacity and health regeneration may improve.

Unit 13 for PS Vita

PSB: How will the co-op play work?
Demirjian: Every single mission will be available for two-player cooperative play. You’ll be able to go your own way and proceed the way you want, or work more closely together if you choose. You won’t have to worry about your buddy running deep into another part of the level because we break the mission into a series of objectives.

When you’re playing co-op over Wi-Fi, we also automatically turn on the PS Vita’s internal microphone to keep communication channels open. You can turn it off, of course.

PSB: Just to be clear, co-op will be available only via Wi-Fi, right?
Demirjian: Co-op is over Wi-Fi, yes. The 3G functionality is for stat sharing via near, for getting real-time updates on scores, and for seeing when new high-value target missions or Daily Challenges become available. 3G is about the social component and seeing what your friends have been up to.

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7 Author Replies

  • Screw this game and screw Zipper Interactive. All this is, is a port of the TERRIBLE Socom 4 to the Vita. Zipper has done nothing but crap on it’s long time supporters and fans to consistently try to gouge them out of more and more $$$ while producing lackluster excuses for games.

    Stop supporting this kind of behavior with your wallets people.

  • Go to to vote for the return of the classic socom experience we all know and love!!!

  • @PRE_-CISION-_ what he said= all we want is socom back sony
    really? speak for yourslef i like socom 4 an i wouldn’t buy socom 1 or 2 in hd if they made it, this game will not flops just becuae you don’t like it, im gonna buy it an i know any of the people who play socom 4 on my friends list, well the ones that can aford or like handhelds well get this to

  • @SpaceGerbil1 you to, i play socom 4 an alot of people play it to still, i love socom 4, its my fav socom, also i liked socom confertation, i wish they would add some more maps to socom 4 from confertation

    who ever says they don’t add things to socom 4, well your wrong, they released a map pack not that long ago

  • MAKE SOCOM TRILOGY IN HD. I would pay alot of money for this series redone! BTW i’m not buying this socom 4 look alike……….

  • SOCOM 4 is unplayable……alotta maps but not one queue you can play all of them. Zipper also gave up on socom 4 cuz it failed. the game is trash and unit 13 looks alot like it

  • Comment 52 and 53 is not a true hardcore socom gamer……..How dare you say that “i would not buy a HD remake of Socom 1 and 2. Just another dirty_walter KILLING SOCOM FOR ALL OF US!

  • Precision and Space gerbil are 100% SAVE SOCOM MAKE A CLASSIC TRILOGY. MULTIPLAYER IS A MUST!

  • @SOCOM_1_LOVER is spot on. We need a socom trilogy sony please we beg you! Once profits sore. Base your new shooters like these old but awesome classics……I will not be supporting zipper until this trilogy is made. If not I will make the move to xbox. Long time socomer……

  • hey plezzzzzz answer this ? will the vita be in white color i realy would love a white vita dnt realy like the black color plzzz answer thank u

  • All the games look sweet cant wait for vita but wil be l waiting until thier is a package deal with a game or two

  • Thay probly will have diffrent colors somtime after the release i hope

  • I am never buying another Zipper game after what they did to the SOCOM series. They had the perfect formula after making SOCOM 2 – near perfect online competitive gameplay and thousands of ultra hardcore fans around the world who would tirelessly promote the SOCOM brand to anyone they came across.

    To any competent developer it would be easy to see that all they had to do was to keep the same formula that made SOCOM 2 so successful and revamp the graphics for the PS3. Yet they basically spat in the face of their own diehard fans to try and cater for the COD community. In the end SOCOM 4 was a complete failure and an embarrassment to the fans of SOCOM 1 and 2.

  • Hmm. So. Zipper goes into the casual market…

    Probably will have 5000 glitches/bugs, crap enemy AI, and only 10 missions.

    Sorry, nope, not for me.

    I had to laugh out loud when I realized Seth Luisi was the creative lead on this project…
    ARE. YOU. JOKING??????

    What the heck is wrong with Zipper? Don’t they realize that nobody likes ANYTHING that he changes/does in a game?

    Then, in the video, he must have went around the map for the first 3 minutes trying to FIND a guy, and the whole time going on about how “The dual analog sticks really bring out the gameplay”, going ON and ON and ON about the freaking analog sticks, WHICH DIDN’T ADD TO THE GAMEPLAY ON SOCOM 4!


  • Ugh. I used to like Zipper, but now I do nothing but hate on them. Why?

    Because they have screwed up whatever they touched.
    MAG had such potential, then they couldn’t figure out SVERs imbalance, over-nerfed, under-nerfed, couldn’t figure out freezing issues, RANDOM BULLET SPREAD, the PS Move knifing fiasco, taking out servers in a game that REQUIRES smooth gameplay.

    SOCOM… I am not even going to start how much that completely turned me against them.

    Make MAG 2, fufill all the promises you had with clan battles, keep the current maps and add new ones, I don’t want to have to go through the whole Absheron Refinery tuning TORTURE that it took to finally balance it.
    Get rid of Random Bullet Spread, make the contracts MATTER, etc.

    Make the SOCOM Trilogy, but don’t let anyone who had anything to do with directing SOCOM 4 touch it. Let the original SOCOM creators have free reign and make a REAL SOCOM sequel.

  • Can’t get this awesome game soon enough!

  • Hey, I’m wondering if Unit 13 will have multiplayer online where army goes against army. I might think about getting it as long as it has almost all key features of a shooter game.

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